Monday, October 31, 2016

Kind, Useful, and True: A Reflection on Verbal Communication

Communication is an integral part of our daily lives. It is virtually impossible to live life without some sort of verbal communication, even animals such as dolphins communicate through certain frequencies. Most of the time, we often say things without really thinking about them. This is why I found this iExamen particularly interesting. I didn't think much of it initially, but being conscious of each word I speak for an entire day, did bring me to conclusions about how I want to live out my daily life.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I had plans to spend the day shopping in Hampden with friends. It was gorgeous out, and I was genuinely glad to be spending time with my friends rather than being cooped up in my dorm studying (it was tempting since I had a lot of homework to do!) It was easy to be honest about that. I did express verbally how glad I was that we made those plans. I am a generally honest person, but sometimes it's hard to balance kind words and honest words. What happens when something is true but not very nice to say? Are white lies okay? Sometimes you can argue the case but I always value honesty even if it isn't so easy to hear. I tried on a sweater at cloud 9 and felt chunky in it, and I was relieved to hear from my friend that it was indeed a bulky looking sweater. I wouldn't want her to cover that up with a white lie like "no you look great!"

Initially, I thought the task to be pretty simple, since it is rarely my intention to hurt someone with words or even make mean "jokes" about other people. I generally dislike this type of joking because it can often have a serious undertone, and although you brush it off as a joke the other person might still be hurt. Words are such a powerful tool. I realized throughout the day to be conscious of words and their connotation, or effect on people. It is hard to define what makes words "kind" and "useful," and can to some extent be subjective. 

The hard part of the iExamen was just to stay aware throughout the entire day. I started off the day really well and was happy, but it was a long day and I began to grow tired and hungry. I am not the most pleasant person to be around when this happens because I start to get "hangry." It was harder to stick to being kind when my mood changes. After lunch and a large cup of coffee, it became easier again to stick to the task and put the energy into my reflection. 

At the end of the day, I realized that I generally stayed more positive throughout the day. In the future, I am definitely going to try to stay more aware of what I say and how it affects others. I generally say things that are kind, useful, and true and try to filter out anything mean, dishonest, or not useful. My mom always said, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it" and I always tried to follow this rule, but sometimes we can unintentionally hurt someone. The iExam showed me the value of self-reflection.

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